What A Car Salesperson Can Learn From An Apple Specialist

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Sales 200 - Intermediate Sales Skills | Sales Tips

The first thing most customers want to talk about is price. But it is probably the last thing that matters.

When I was early in my sales career, I was trained to ask the customer what their budget was. My manager instructed me to qualify the customer by saying something like,

“What were you hoping to spend?”


“How much do you need your payment to be?”

I still hear it in dealerships. It makes me cringe.

What will the customer’s answer be? 

“Less than what I’m paying now.”

No more than $XXXX per month.”

“As little as possible.”

Let me make this clear right up front:

Don’t EVER ask the customer any of those questions! You’re just making your job harder, if not impossible if you do.  

When you purchased your iPhone, did the salesperson ever ask you how much you wanted to spend? No. The Apple sales process is:

A – Approach with a personalized, warm welcome

P – Probe politely to understand all of the customer’s needs

P – Present a solution for the customer to take home today

L – Listen for and resolve issues or concerns

E – End with a fond farewell and invitation to return

During the Probing portion of their sales process, the salesperson asks questions about how your device fits into your life. Do you take a lot of pictures? Do you use your device for business? Do you do a lot of traveling?

These questions will help your Apple Specialist present a solution for the customer to take home today.  

Eventually, the price comes up, sure. But not before the salesperson completely understands the needs of the customer.

A proper needs assessment may reveal dozens of more critical needs than price when your customer is selecting a new vehicle. Here are a few must-have items that a recent customer shared with a salesperson. 

The customer needed a vehicle that…

  1. Is good in the snow
  2. Can carry four passengers
  3. Has decent fuel economy for a 40-minute commute
  4. Isn’t an ugly color
  5. Has a moonroof
  6. Has heated seats
  7. Has a heated steering wheel
  8. Can tow a small trailer
  9. Fits in a smaller garage
  10. Doesn’t have too much technology
  11. Doesn’t have big fancy wheels, but a sporty look is nice
  12. Is a darker color, blue generally
  13. Has a carpeted trunk/cargo area
  14. Has a sunshade for the cargo area
  15. Has enough get-up-and-go on the freeway
  16. Has Bluetooth
  17. Has one-touch power windows
  18. Has radio controls that can be operated while wearing mittens
  19. Has a good sounding radio
  20. Has Android Auto
  21. Does not have leather seats
  22. Does not have built-in navigation because it’s never updated
  23. Has a good warranty
  24. Has low miles
  25. Is new or is a CarFax one owner
  26. Needs to be under $20,000 and 0% interest.

The customer has given you 26 different ways to show her a perfect vehicle.  

What if you can find a vehicle that earns a B+?  

If you can present and demonstrate a vehicle that meets roughly 23 out of 26 items on this customer’s must-have list, wouldn’t you pull it up and show her all of the ways that this is the perfect vehicle for her?

Too often, salespeople will only hear the final item on the customer’s must-have list. Under $20,000 and 0% interest.

The next thing you know, the salesperson is blowing the customer out and telling the manager that they didn’t have anything in the customer’s price range.

But what about the rest of the list? Don’t the other items on this customer’s list mean anything? By concentrating on only one thing is simply dismissing the rest of her needs. It is just as ridiculous as suggesting that she buy a large SUV because she asked for a vehicle that is good in the snow but ignoring her request for good fuel economy. It simply shows that the salesperson wasn’t listening.  

Like at the Apple Store, your job is to listen to the customer’s needs and present a product that meets them.  

Get comfortable using this phrase:  

“Mrs. Customer, I know you’re on a budget; we all are! You leave that to me! We’re going to work together to help you buy a vehicle that comes as close as possible to being perfect.”

Then continue to investigate and build rapport to learn about why (the benefit) behind the what (the feature.)

There are other ways for you to uncover your customer’s approximate budget. We teach these specific questions in our MasterClasses and during in-dealership training. These classes give you the information you need to take your career and your paycheck to the next level.

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